The Horsham Democrats held their annual reception on August 12, 2014 at the Horsham Pub in Ambler. Several local officials and candidates attended. Former 8th District Congressman Patrick Murphy was a special guest. Joe Hoeffel, who has held office as a Congressman (13th), Montgomery County Commissioner, and State Representative (153rd) and is now an author (of Iraq Lies) was also in attendance but did not make formal remarks.
These are my rough notes from the event. Public remarks were longer and more detailed; this is in no way intended as a transcript. It is just my notes from what people said. My apologies in advance for any errors or misconceptions. A few personal observations are given at the end of the post.
MC: Horsham Dems co-chair Pat Costello
Co-host: Horsham Dems vice chair Ron Kolla
In addition to speakers the following were present:
Joe Hoeffel, D. Bruce Hanes (Montco Register of Wills), Ann Thornburg Weiss (Montco Clerk of Courts, JeanneSorg (Mayor of Ambler) and Rick Taylor (First Gentleman of Ambler and former State Representative), Greg Holt (Montco State Democratic Committee), Mark Levy (Montco Prothonotary), Madeleine Dean (State Representative for 153rd district), Dottie Miller (State House candidate in 53rd district), RuthDamsker (former Montco County Commissioner, candidate for State Senate in 12th district), [Mary Ellen Balchunis -- 7th district congressional candidate -- she was mentioned but I'm not sure she was there in person]
Brendan Boyle, candidate for Congress in the 13th district and current state representative in the 170th district, who had to leave early, spoke before the other formal remarks. He referenced being the first Democrat in history to win in his district, and now people were saying a Republican couldn’t win the seat. He said he looked forward to growing the party.
Pat Costello gave opening remarks, welcoming everyone. He pointed out the labor leaders in the room and said labor is the backbone of Horsham. He mentioned candidates in the room (see list above)
Josh Shapiro, chairman of the Montco Commissioners: Recognizes Pat Costello. Understands what it takes to build a party. Bullish on Horsham Dems. Believe in one another. This is a tremendous group of people, who know how to mobilize. Ruth Damsker will vote with Tom Wolf to put more money back into education. Starts with boots on the ground. Introduces Patrick Murphy, watches him on MSNBC, doing great things with veterans. Murphy is raising awareness, and being a voice for the voiceless.
Patrick Murphy, former congressmen in the 8th district: thanks. When he signed up with MSNBC he can no longer endorse candidates but got special permission to be here tonight. The only thing you have is your word. Special mention of Hoeffel, who is the conscience of the party in this area. A lot of great things going on in Horsham. He was only elected to Congress because of the voters Montgomery County who were in the 8th district. He recognizes Wendy Rothstein (??), who is also a lawyer at Fox Rothschild, and mentions that Montgomery party chair Marcel Groen is also at Fox Rothschild. References Joe Hoeffel’s book, Iraq Lies. Less than 1% of Americans have served in Iraq. Many have come home broken. Leave no one behind. Every day 22 veterans commit suicide, over 70% with a gun. Heart broken over Robin Williams’s death; he did a lot for veterans. Tells the story of getting a death threat the night the Affordable Care Act. He slept on the floor of his congressional office and someone called him and said he was dead. Mentions that while in Congress he did the PX90 workout with Paul Ryan. Mentions ISIS conflict, and humanitarian drops by US. Says Tom Corbett has been called the most ineffective governor in the country.
Leslie Richards, Montco Commissioner: Great to see so many old and new faces. When Josh and I won we made history. Not possible without work by Joe Hoeffel and Ruth Damsker. Elect Ruth to the State Senate. Let’s help Tom Corbett make history by being the first PA governor not to win a second term.
Josh Shapiro: Thanks Pat Costello and others.
Personal observations: This was a lively gathering. Boyle, Hoeffel and Murphy were the popular kids; there was always a crowed around each of them. The room was full and the event well-attended, especially on a rainy night. The food looked good, too. I had already eaten but did have some blueberries. There were more influential women there than I am used to seeing, which was encouraging.